We offer a rather unique activity; Bell Choir. Bell choir is offered weekly on Thursdays 11:15 to 12:00. There is a core group of residents who come every week and then there are a few residents who do not attend on a regular basis. The activity takes place in our family room so that while they are practicing all can hear them. The group practices a set number of songs in preparation for concerts that are scheduled 2-3 times a year. Right now they are practicing for the Christmas Concert that is the prelude to the Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Supplies that are needed:
Â· Bells: adapted hand bells and desk bells
Â· Sheaths and cases that store bells
Â· Music sheets
Â· 2 instructors
The group is divided into hand bells playing the lower register or chords, and the desk bells playing the higher register or the melody. The instructors coach the residents and point to them when it is their turn to play. Before they start playing a song the instructors make sure each resident has the bell corresponding to the notes on the music sheet. Residents do not need to be able to read music as the instructor will point to them when it is time. The residents holding the hand bells play together as a group, the residents with the desk bells play individual notes to make the melody.
While the residents are playing; family, staff and other residents take a moment to stop and listen.
What needs and interests does bell choir do for residents? This activity is multi-faceted. It works on brain function, residents are alert and paying attention to hit their notes on que. Eye -hand coordination to be able to watch the instructor and play the notes on command. Team engagement, the ability to play as a music group. A sense of accomplishment, pride and self-worth. For those residents that come to watch they all have a smile on their face, and sometimes begin singing the words to the songs. Families and staff are also drawn in to this beautiful and peaceful melody. And that is just during practice. As the weeks get closer to concert time there is an increase in the buzz about the upcoming performance.
The Christmas concert is the biggest event that they practice and play for each year. That day is also known as Manger Day. This is a Catholic facility, and the building was built around our courtyard. At 2:00 on this day there is a procession out into the courtyard to set up the Manger for the Christmas season.
Once the Manger is completed the Bell Choir begins their concert.
At the end of the Bell Choir Concert, the countdown begins:
10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1.. Lights on
â€¦..and the Christmas Season begins!
The spirit of Christmas is so very present at this moment and it is seen in the faces of the residents, family and staff. Just thinking about it makes me smile. No wonder our residents are so very proud of this event.